‘I think it’s just a witch hunt now,’ said a woman, leaning over the newspaper rack where my sister and I were browsing the headlines. Before my eyes were three pictures, three well-known faces side by side. Stuart Hall, William Roache and Rolf Harris. Men who have been in famous since before I was born. Men who had been adopted by the British public almost to the level of National Treasures and now all three have been arrested for/accused of rape.
‘After all,’ the woman continued. ‘We’re talking sixty years ago.’
Actually it’s not quite that far back but even so …
‘I hope they’re innocent,’ I said (although Hall had admitted to most of his charges earlier that day) ‘But if they’re not, I hope they get put away.’
A human-rights barrister has commented that the age of consent should be lowered to thirteen to prevent the ‘persecution of old men.’ She has apparently said that child sex abuse crimes are ‘low level misdemeanours.’
Ah. So indecently assaulting a nine-year-old girl (which Hall has admitted to) is a misdemeanour? Silly me, I thought it was a heinous, sick act which scars it’s victim FOREVER. Naughty Mr Hall, don’t do it again.
I know there are shades of grey in all things but if one more woman says, in my hearing, that it was all a long time ago and the girls were probably asking for it I will not be responsible for my response. Funny, I have yet to hear a man make this sort of remark.
Moreover, yet another gang of child abusers has been jailed in this country. Young men this time. Young men who operate in gangs and prey on vulnerable kids and groom them before raping them and selling them into prostitution. The papers are full of tales of how the police missed opportunities to stop these creatures and at least one care home manager has been revealed as careless, to say the least. When a missing girl returned to her care home in a taxi, he refused to pay the fare so she got back in the car and returned to her abusers. Nice one, mate. Having said that, I did work with ‘looked after children’ as they are called. One of the homes I worked in specialised in children with problems arising from childhood abuse and I know from experience that it isn’t an easy job. A child who has been prostituted or raped is not big on trust. A child who has been prostituted or raped is not big on obeying the rules just because one in a long line of care workers says they must. So I can sympathise with that manager. I don’t know all the elements of that situation so I will do him the courtesy of keeping an open mind.
But … To the doctor who examined one of these wounded, traumatised girls whilst simultaneously conducting a phone conversation about his upcoming golfing trip I say shame on you. Shame on you, you heartless ****
During my Safeguarding training, before being let loose on vulnerable kids, I learned that we ALL have a duty of care for children. Yes, I am British and yes, this is a very Britain-centred post but wherever you are reading this, I would say that you too have a duty of care. Look around you. Is there a child near you that needs someone’s/anyone’s help? Is that group of people hurting children? Is there a cellar with unexplained noises coming from it? Has that man across the street really got three young women locked up in his house that he abducted TEN Years ago?
Don’t mind your own business. Don’t look the other way. And, whatever you do, don’t assume that when someone reveals that they were abused five minutes or five months or fifty years ago that they have got over it.